I have been thinking about connection for the last few months. The idea was spawned reading Johann Hari’s book on addiction. His fundamental premise is that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety – it is connection.
The important of real connection is vitally important in my own life. Two encounters have reminded me of that in the last few days.
The first, meeting a Facebook friend who is also a chemist and Ignatian spirituality enthusiast. Both of us are strong introverts and are indebted to an extroverted mutual friend for organising the meeting. Nonetheless, I was struck by how easy the conversation was. Over the last two or three years since we have been connected on social media I really have got to know her a little. The tenuous cyber connection is actually real.
It isn’t a substitute for spending time together, but it does mean that when you do meet there is a real recognition.
The second, my four year old nephew trying to make sense of his family. I am currently staying with my sister and brother-in-law so quite where ‘Aunty’ fits in the picture is something of a conundrum. Am I a ‘parent’? Or an ‘aunty’? His sweet young mind isn’t classifying things the way we do. He finally settled on ‘special aunty to me and Matthew’ (Matthew is his younger brother).
Neither of those connections happens overnight. It happens through repeated, persistent, showing up. The titles and labels we cling to don’t mean a whole lot in the absence of the willingness to be present.